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American River

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American River is a town situated on the western shore of Eastern Cove, on Australia's third largest island, Kangaroo Island.HistoryThe area now known as American River was first visited by Europeans in 1802 when Matthew Flinders landed to survey this part of Kangaroo Island. In 1803, a group of American sealers camped for four months in the area. They arrived on the brig Union and built their own 35 ton schooner Independence from local timber. The town takes its name from this time. A memorial plaque and accompanying anchor (recovered in 1969) from an early American whaling vessel is dedicated to the crew of the Union.Frank Potts was the first official settler in 1842, before moving to the mainland and establishing the Bleasdale vineyard and winery at Langhorne Creek. John Buick, a professional boat builder, built the first house in the town in 1844. It was fashioned out of local stone, pug and sput timber and remained standing until 1985.Somewhat erroneously, the waters of Eastern Cove, upon which the township is located, have been referred to as American River, compounding the illusion that the township is connected in any way with a river.A fish canning factory existed for a few years from the late 1890s, remnants of which may still be found on the shore north of the town proper. Gypsum was mined at Flour Cask Bay, later at Pelican Lagoon and trucked to nearby Ballast Head, from 1956 until 1986.
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